In Green Light all plots look sickly

Green Light is religious novel with no theology and scarcely more characterization.

What it has are plots.

Green Light  by Lloyd C. Douglas

Houghton Mifflin, 1934. 326 pages. 1935 bestseller #1. My grade: C-.

1935-01_fc_greenlightThe main plot is about surgeon Newell Paige. When another doctor bungles a surgery and lets Paige take the blame, Paige is devastated.

Dr. Elliott had been Paige’s teacher, mentor, and hero. Besides, Paige had been fond of the late Mrs. Dexter and impressed by her faith.

Paige resigns, leaves town with his dog.

Paige is living under an assumed name when he meets Mrs. Dexter’s daughter, Phyllis. It’s love at first sight except that Phyllis thinks he is to blame for her mother’s death.

Everything comes right in the end, thanks to Paige’s dog and Dean Harcourt of Trinity Cathedral.

The Dean introduces various of his counseling clients to each other (1934 was pre-HIPPA), Paige’s dog matches him with Phyllis Dexter.

Lloyd C. Douglas fills the corners of the story with other canned plots and canned characters: a girl who wants a singing career, a woman who has left her married lover, a widowed professor with a charming, motherless daughter.

Each heartwarming tale is another nail on which to hang the Dean’s inspirational message: “My course is upward. . . .I go on through. … I get the GREEN LIGHT!”

What I got was a sick feeling from ingesting a novel long past its sell-by date.

© 2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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